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San Diego Personal Injury Law Blog

Report: Diagnosing infant brain injuries requires proactive staff

While there is typically an expectation that things in the delivery room will go well, there are a number of opportunities for things to go wrong. Parents and doctors in San Diego can do everything correctly and still have an infant born with a brain injury or other medical issue. Thanks to medical advances, there may be ways to better prevent and treat such conditions.

According to a pediatrician at Tulane University in New Orleans, only one-third of hospitals and birth centers in the United States have neonatal intensive care units. In those facilities that lack such units, medical personnel are responsible for either treating infants with an issue like a birth injury or referring families to another institution. A task force of physicians recently emphasized the need for pediatricians to be more active in diagnosing brain injuries in newborns.

California woman froze in hospital morgue due to medical mistake

It is devastating to hear that a loved one has passed away. Many San Diego residents look for answers as to why their loved one died. In some instances, the cause of death can bring even more questions, as is the case when a medical mistake is involved. A grieving family is already under substantial stress, and a doctor error can cause even more anger and frustration.

A California man and his eight children filed a lawsuit after their 80-year-old wife and mother passed away in June 2010. According to the suit, the family alleged that her body was mishandled. The woman had apparently died of a heart attack and was placed in a freezer in the hospital morgue. When morticians viewed her body days later, she was positioned face-down with a broken nose and facial cuts and bruises.

Family to file suit after accident kills firefighter in San Diego

Making a simple mistake behind the wheel can have devastating effects. Some San Diego drivers cause accidents because they are texting or talking on the phone. Speeding also is often a factor that causes fatal automobile accidents. A motorist may simply want to save a little bit of time, but the consequences can be tragic, as one recent incident illustrates.

A U.S. Forest Service firefighter left work and headed home one day last year, driving along Buckman Springs Road. A 22-year-old woman was speeding in the oncoming lane, going more than 70 miles per hour. She lost control of her vehicle and collided head-on with the firefighter’s motorcycle. As a result of the incident, the 37-year-old man died. His girlfriend has started a collection for a roadside memorial sign in the hopes of reminding people how devastating reckless driving can be, and his mother has been urging people to avoid speeding while behind the wheel.

Faulty ignition switch in G.M. cars linked to 12 deaths

A vehicle has a number of moving parts and systems, which leaves the door open for something to go wrong. Motorists in San Diego who find themselves with an illuminated “check engine” light usually head into a mechanic to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, there are instances in which drivers do not get any warning of a defect and fatal car accidents ensue. One embattled car manufacturer apparently knew about potential ignition shutdowns well before the company had initially disclosed.

In an updated report, General Motors noted that this year it performed a number of analyses on vehicles that had the same ignition that caused fatal problems in the Saturn Ion and Chevrolet Cobalt. However, the manufacturer first learned about the faulty ignition in 2001, despite an initial disclosure that reports did not come until three years later. The new timeline has led the Justice Department announce a criminal investigation into how G.M. disclosed information to regulators.

Dog attacks on San Diego postal workers are on the rise

Every profession comes with a set of risks. For some, repetitive typing can lead to conditions such as carpal tunnel. Other workers are in an environment with potentially harmful chemicals. Postal workers in San Diego have another kind of threat: a dog bite. There are ways to mitigate the risks of an animal attacks, and according to statistics, those techniques are becoming more and more necessary.

Last July, a 60-year-old postal worker suffered an attack by a 70-pound female pit bull. The carrier, who was delivering mail at the time, had to undergo multiple surgeries as a result of eight puncture wounds, an injured shoulder and a 4-inch gash in his neck, among other injuries.

San Diego dog walker killed in pedestrian accident

Pedestrians are taught to cross the street within the confines of a crosswalk. This can ensure an individual’s safety, as drivers are taught to yield to people who are in a crosswalk. There are times when San Diegans cross in the middle of the road. While the behavior is dangerous, it does not give a driver license to engage in a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunately for one man, such was the case, and the results were grave.

A local resident who walks regularly in Hillcrest now worries she needs to be what she calls a “defensive pedestrian.” The comment came after a man walking his dog on University Avenue was struck and killed when crossing the street mid-block. The driver, who was in a black pickup truck, hit the man and kept driving, according to witnesses.

Affordable Care Act results in overcrowded ERs, doctor shortages

Healthcare reform is a hot-button issue for a number of reasons. There are San Diego residents and physicians who are on both sides of the fence regarding if the Affordable Care Act is helpful or harmful. One thing that cannot be denied, according to recent studies, is the reform’s impact on emergency room staff who are expected to provide a reasonable standard of care for all patients.

Some physicians believe that the measures should have included tort reform to protect doctors from malpractice. The cost of defending a medical malpractice case in court can be as much as $140,000. In an emergency room, a medical mistake could mean a trip to court, though studies show that only 1 percent of such cases actually turn a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Fatal workplace accident claims the life of California mechanic

Safety in the workplace should always be on the top of every business owner’s mind. No matter the industry, there are risks associated with every job in California. A fatal accident at work can be devastating for all parties involved, including the victim’s family and co-workers. Such is the case surrounding the incident that claimed the life of one San Leandro mechanic.

The California Department of Occupational Safety and Health is looking into what caused a fatal incident in which a front loader crushed a worker. The mechanic was underneath the machine in the yard of a company that sells construction equipment and services. According to a spokesperson for the Alameda County Fire Department, the machine had been hoisted on jacks so the worker could get under it.

Would birth injury fund let physicians off the hook?

Every birth is different, which is why hospitals and obstetrics practices must remain vigilant to ensure every baby is delivered safely. An infant who suffers a lack of oxygen while still in the womb can incur devastating injuries that will forever alter a family’s life. In San Diego, parents whose child suffers a birth injury as a result of medical negligence should file a malpractice claim. These claims can provide the compensation a family needs to pay for medical expenses. However, they also have an interesting impact on the medical industry, as one state is currently reviewing.

The state of Maryland has seen several recent multimillion dollar birth injury cases in the last few years. One local hospital spokesperson said the litigation has caused malpractice insurance costs to double. This could threaten some practices to close, limiting access to care for some families.

California mother's death results in fine for negligent hospital

When a doctor or other medical practitioner commits an error that results in a worsened condition, victims are entitled to seek compensation. However, some states, such as California, take a medical mistake even more seriously and penalize hospitals for certain cases involving negligence. Taking such action is one way to help increase patient safety.

In 2012, a woman delivered her child via Cesarean section at an Orange County hospital. Her blood pressure began dropping as her heart rate increased shortly after the birth. After a shift change, the new nurse released the woman to another unit without reviewing her vital signs record and blood work, which goes against the hospital’s policy. Had she done so, she may have noticed that the signs pointed toward the mother having excessive bleeding. The woman ended up having a heart attack and a seizure and later passed away.

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